Networks Fear Obama Blowout
While the liberal media might be cheering for Obama — McCain joked that “it’s going to be a long, long night at MSNBC if I manage to pull this thing off” — their bosses are hoping it doesn’t happen so quickly as to spoil the show.
Paul Friedman, CBS News senior vice president, said he has started to think “about what we could do to augment our Senate and House coverage on election night if the presidential story is over.”
“As to the presidential race, it’s pretty simple: We will try to call a winner in each state as soon as possible after the polls close in each state,” Friedman e-mailed. “If that adds up to 270 for someone before the polls close in the West, there’s not a lot we can do. If there are not enough electoral votes for one man to win it before the Western states close, but we’re pretty sure how they’re going to fall, we will be ready with language which states the obvious without being too obvious. We can’t be in the business of pretending to be stupid.”
Given the amount of information on the Web — including pundits and prognosticators with large followings — it’s simply impossible for the networks to do what NBC does with the Olympics, creating a sense of drama by pretending that they don’t know what they know about outcomes.
While the race won’t mathematically be over until fairly late in the evening East Coast time, if McCain doesn’t win both Florida and Virginia — the results of which could be known quite early — then the rest is just waiting for the inevitable. The best case scenario for the networks, then, is close races in both those states. Or, better yet, McCain victories in both states, forcing us to wait for results in swing states further west.